If there is one contemporary baking book that I believe every cook should own, it’s Mix & Bake, by Belinda Jeffery. I have raved to friends about this book ever since I purchased my copy a couple of years ago. It now proudly sits on my bench top, always reminding me that there is yet another cake in there to be baked. There has been not one dud recipe that I have tried. Not one. Belinda Jeffery is a woman after my own heart. The book is filled with her heart-warming anecdotes and excellent baking tips; her warmth and baking prowess exudes through every recipe. My dear friend, Sarah, and I often talk about ‘our’ Belinda, whom we consider a kindred baking spirit, and fantasise about joining her at the kitchen table of her northern New South Wales home for some tea and cake to discuss all things baking (well I do anyway!). Just the other day we found ourselves baking the exact same cake (apple and pecan crumble cake… très delish) for her Mr S’s and my Mr R’s birthdays, which happen to be a day apart.
My absolute favourite recipes in this book (so far) are: a wonderful rich chocolate cake, one-pan macadamia and chocolate chip brownies (which I often make with gluten-free flour for an even more moist finish and to cater for my gluten-intolerant friends), buttery almond and coconut cake, classic flourless orange and almond cake (another winner with the gluten- and dairy-intolerant folks), Auntie Beryl’s Mexican wedding biscuits, fluffy buttermilk scones, a scrumptious apple and plum cobbler (perfect for a winter’s night in) and the zucchini, feta and dill pie (also good with gluten-free flour and perfect for a luncheon). So many gorgeous recipes! In fact, as I type this ode to Belinda, I have the said book open next to me in the hunt for the perfect Christmas biscuit to wrap into lovely parcels and give as gifts. The biscotti and crunchy peanut butter and sea salt biscuits are hot favourites at the moment.
Mix & Bake is published by Penguin Books Australia and the paperback edition retails for $39.95. I hope you come to love this book as much I do.